Dorothea Rathke

Obituary of Dorothea Irene Rathke

Dorothea Irene Griffith was born on June 8, 1932 in Adrian, Michigan. She was one of two daughters born from the union of the late Lewis and the late Maxine (Ragless) Griffith. Dorothea received her education through Sand Creek High School, graduating with the Class of 1949. She later attended Clayton Normal, earning her teaching certificate.

Dorothea married Charles Bays in 1951 and together came the birth of four children. For many years, she supported her family as a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse in Adrian. Dorothea was a previous member of Raisin Valley Friends Church in Adrian where she received her spiritual nourishment. After moving to Monroe, she became a very active member of Crosswalk Community Church. She raised her family to put their faith first and to keep a close relationship with the Lord.

Dorothea met the love of her life, Richard Rathke and together the couple married on July 8, 1983 in Monroe, creating a blended family of ten children. After furthering her education, Dorothea took a position at Monroe Bank and Trust working as a bookkeeper for more than ten years, retiring in 1995.

She enjoyed her quite time, often reading and doing crossword puzzles. She was a natural seamstress and loved to knit. In her spare time, she would cook and bake; known for her delicious pies, buns, and potato salad.  Spending time with her husband and family meant the most to Dorothea. She loved to travel, especially to their home in Northern Michigan. Led by her faith in Jesus, Dorothea lived life to the fullest.

Dorothea Irene Rathke, age 86 of Monroe, passed away 10:16pm on Sunday, May 12, 2019 at Ebeid Hospice in Sylvania. In addition to her parents, she was preceded by her loving husband: Richard Rathke; and a stepdaughter: Mary Danzeisen.

To cherish her memory, Dorothea leaves her children: Teresa (Dale) Hayford of Monroe, Linda (Robert) Shipman of LaSalle, Charlene (Foster) Schmidt of Alanson, and Edie (Lonnie) Poupard of Belleville; her step children: Victoria (Dennis) Hobbs of Dryden, Virginia, Richard (Janet) Rathke of Sault Ste, Marie, Diane (Mark) Gayer of Petersburg, Joseph (Lesley) Rathke of Temperance and Daniel (Annette) Rathke of LaSalle; one sister: Elizabeth (Paul) Bishop of Sand Creek; twenty-seven grandchildren, forty-seven great grandchildren, and five great-great grandchildren.

Friends may gather on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 from 3:00pm until 8:00pm and Wednesday, May 15 for 10:00am until a Celebration of Her Life at 11:00am at Merkle Funeral Service, South Monroe, 14567 South Dixie Highway, Monroe (734)241-7070. Procession will follow to Roselawn Memorial Park in LaSalle for burial.

Memorials can be made to Monroe County Meals on Wheels. Online guests may leave words of inspiration and comfort, share a photo or send a floral arrangement by visiting